Skip to main content

Topical and Traditional Folk Music: Leadbelly's Last Sessions, Program 1

Audio Preview

audio
Topical and Traditional Folk Music: Leadbelly's Last Sessions, Program 1


Published February 7, 1965


Roy Trumbull presents the first of four programs dedicated to Leadbelly’s last recording sessions, in which the singer and musician performs many of the songs he had learned or written during his life. Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, was born to a poor African American family sometime in the waning years of the 19h century, (ca. 1888). A large, strong man with a booming voice, and an ability to play the 12 string guitar, Leadbelly spent much of his early life, working hard, drinking, getting into fights, and having run-ins with the law. Yet despite all the hardships his passion for music got him through the most difficult of times, even purportedly charming a law and order Governor into releasing him from prison early, after he heard one of Leadbelly’s musical appeals for clemency. It was during one of his several stays in prison that Leadbelly’s singing caught the ears of the famous musicologists John and Alan Lomax, whose recordings of his music led to his eventual recognition as one of the finest and most authentic blues and folk singers of all time. In addition to his voice and musicianship, what truly made the man remarkable was the enormous repertoire of songs he had learned or written during his long and difficult life. Although he never achieved the sort of critical success that he desired when alive, (that would come after his death when bands such as The Weavers began covering his songs, most notably “Goodnight Irene”), Leadbelly’s later life did include extensive touring, radio appearances, and considerable fame, if not fortune. However, while a number of his most popular songs had been recorded for commercial release it was not until 1948, just a year or so before his death, that any attempt was made to record his full repertoire. In a series of four sessions recorded over a number of months, and utilizing the then revolutionary magnetic tape recorder which permitted the capture of a continuous sound for up to half an hour, allowing Leadbelly to sprinkle his songs with stories about where he learned them, Leadbelly filled a number of reels with over 135 takes, thus preserving songs that might otherwise have been forgotten forever. The further insistence of Frederic Ramsey Jr. and Charles Edward Smith, who made the recordings, in collaboration with with Moses Asch of Folkways Records, insured that the recording sessions would be preserved and presented to the public in their entirety just as they were recorded.


Run time 66 min

Notes

For more detailed program information and to browse other material in the Other Minds Archive visit: radiOM.org

comment
Reviews

There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write a review.
info Stream Only
Stream playlist
( VBR )
Uploaded
on 2/5/2010
Views
1,256
Favorites
3
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
eye
Title
Date Archived
Creator
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Other Minds Audio Archive
audio
eye 1,303
favorite 4
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Other Minds Audio Archive
audio
eye 1,037
favorite 3
comment 0
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Other Minds Audio Archive
audio
eye 563
favorite 1
comment 0
Other Minds Audio Archive
audio
eye 401
favorite 1
comment 0